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Posted by
Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 7:29 am

I figure if I write a post-mortem I can put this whole thing behind me, so here we go.


You can find it here.

What went right:

  1. I submitted something! This is rare. Sometimes I crash out on the pretext that I have better things to do with my weekend that stay up all night being incredibly frustrated because my brain is too sleep deprived to function but for some reason I’ve decided that coding in that state is a good idea. This is rarely true, but it makes sense. Sometimes I make half a thing that’s unplayable and don’t submit. I think this is the third time I’ve actually submitted something.
  2. Everything on the to-do list is basically there. This doesn’t mean too much because I write the to-do list as I go, but it’s something.  There are 25 steps on my to-do list and of that 23 have a satisfying strikethrough over them.
  3. The idea is fairly novel. To start with, I saw ‘growing’ and thought back to some book I read many years ago about procedural generation of trees using l-systems and how I thought that was really cool. So I started coding a tree with l-systems and then had to think up a game to go with it. It’s kinda meant to be a strategy game where you’re attracting butterflies and birds to you, and doing so has effects and can be used to block your enemy’s growth or help your own.
  4. The technology. I used luxe, a rather new Haxe game engine. I spent the week before LD making a practice game with it, which was rather frustrating because the documentation and knowledge-base for luxe really isn’t there in an easily-digestible form. It’s much better than the entity-component model engine I built for myself over OpenFL though, and once you’ve got it worked out it’s really smooth to code with.
  5. The art. No, it’s not good, but it was quick to make. My LD games rarely have animations because animating pixel art is too damn hard. With vector art you just pull the little dots around and voila.

What went wrong:

  1. It’s not very good. I’m too close to judge it fairly, but my gut feeling is that it’s not very good. I mean, I know it isn’t good because the AI is laughably shit, but even if it wasn’t I don’t think the game would actually be fun. Though, if I were doing it again I’d probably make it hotseat multiplayer. I considered it at the time but didn’t want people without someone to play with be unable to play it. In retrospect, that’s silly, because now there’s no reason for anyone to play it given how hopeless the AI is.
  2. No polish. No time. Worked until the last minute, had to just throw it up as it was.
  3. Inefficient development. Coding on no sleep is so horribly inefficient and not-fun. It’s not even fun in retrospect anymore. I’m not sure if it would be more productive to just go to bed and miss out on a couple of hours of development time rather than stare at an obviously broken method for an hour with no idea how to fix it, but I might try that next time.
  4. Concept has too many parts. I knew this would be a problem but I couldn’t think of another idea to shoe-horn into my l-system tree that I’d already made, so I disregarded my earlier very stern note-to-self that anything I make for this should only have one main Thing happening which the game revolves around. Here we ended up with trees and flowers and fruits and butterflies and birds, which probably doesn’t look like a whole lot on-screen but they’re all doing their own little thing and it adds up.
  5. The technology. Mostly because I was tired and didn’t really know it well, but the event system really tied me up during the early hours of Monday morning. I lost track of who was sending what events and who was picking them up, and it all got mixed up and the code spaghettified. For the most part, just directly calling the components needed would have been better, or perhaps drawing a diagram as to what is communicating with what, but such practical matters didn’t occur to me at the time. This is basically my fault for not knowing what I’m doing.
  6. More importantly than the above – there is no debugger. This is the biggest downside of luxe – none of the output targets have a debugger that works with the original haxe code, because luxe doesn’t compile to Flash. I hear there’s a c++ target debugger in the works, which is good. Coding without one brought be back to the bad old days of university before I learnt how to use a debugger and had to solve all problems by tracing random nonsense at different points to see if it ran.

So yeah, that’s it. Lessons learnt. Probably to be disregarded next time, but I’m feeling pretty pumped for continued gamedev (not on this, though. I don’t think there’s much potential).

Not sure if I’ll get to play/rate too many games this time around – being stuck on an 8gb data cap really stops you from being able to use the internet like a normal person, and all them bloated Unity games are a real drag on things…


Posted by
Sunday, December 13th, 2015 9:18 am

It’s midnight. Time for a status update.

Pretty much sucks.

So the trees grow, branch, grow flowers, flowers stop branches from growing, and wilt and die after a while, the butterfly floats around and zooms in on flowers, and the AI tree blathers around ineffectually. But we still don’t have a game.

The idea is that butterflies that visit your flowers will lay caterpillars on the other tree, which will stunt its growth. Birds will eat caterpillars, but only if they also get fruit from your tree. Coolest tree wins (or something. I really haven’t given it much thought).

So we’re missing a great deal of functionality here, but I think the plan is to plunge on.

I’ve been working on the AI tree just now, but having laid out the problem like that, I think it’s time to get on with the caterpillars and stuff. Hopefully I can finish that and it will be at least mildly interesting, but I’m not sure of either of those.



Still no backgrounds, but that’s last minute afterthought-material.

End of Day 1 Update

Posted by
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 10:12 am

Off to sleep. Current progress looks like this:


Okay, so, doesn’t look promising I know, but we have:

A tree that uses l-systems to grow.
An animated bird.A button that swaps between growing the tree’s height vs growing new branches.

Tomorrow should bring a whole new button, fruit, flowers, butterflies, and caterpillars. Maybe after showering I’ll draw some more crap vector art.

I’m fairly concerned, but as I’m not 100% sure what the game is about yet, there’s a whole lot of room for cutting features. Whether it will still be a ‘game’ at the end is a bit iffy though.


Posted by
Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 9:25 am

I’m in. Hoping to do better than last time, so decided to post about it early in a gesture of dedication.

Language: Haxe – yay.
Engine: Luxe – working out how to use it now. So far that hasn’t been very clear, but slowly making some progress.
Graphics: GIMP, Inkscape – normally I’d do bad pixel art with GIMP, but maybe bad vector art would be faster?
Music: Whatever random music generator I can find half an hour before the deadline. Should really put more effort into music, but it’s not likely to happen.



Posted by
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 6:55 pm

I submitted something!

This is only the second time I’ve managed to submit something playable, and it’s better than the last effort. I have fairly low expectations for how it will rate because, well, it’s  not very good or very finished, but I’m pretty happy with how much I got done. Cocos2d-x is pretty nice to work with except when it’s not, but I only had one really big coding frustration.

Anyway – it’s 9am. I’m going to eat breakfast and go to bed.


Posted by
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 4:02 pm

It’s  about 6am here and everything still sucks.

Well, okay, it’s not all that bad. Most of the game-stopping  bugs have either been fixed or have had the design adjusted to accommodate them. The only truly critical things left are a game over and a win condition. There’s something wrong with the aiming but I probably don’t care enough to fix it. And the player sprite desperately needs colouring or something.  But other than that, there’s a game here.



Posted by
Sunday, April 19th, 2015 9:56 am

So it’s nearly 12am. GMT+9 is a nice timezone to start Ludum Dare but a pretty awful one to finish it in.

I’m feeling fairly committed at this point. I’ve been pondering giving up on aiming for the compo and giving myself the extra day with the jam – it’s not like I have anything better to do tomorrow – but it’s not really the same.

The party last night did not help at all. Getting to bed at 2:30 am after drinking a fair amount of sake (language failure – we ordered one bottle between us which turned into one bottle each…) lead to getting up late and being pretty drowsy all day. This wouldn’t be the first time that a drinking party has scuttled my Ludum Dare efforts. It’s not like I go drinking very often even – it just seems that these things fall at inconvenient times.

But anyway, about the game.



The weapon is a bouncy ball. The idea is that you’ll run (jetpack, hopefully) through a level and bounce it around walls to kill off the enemies.
Currently the ball can be fired by aiming with the mouse, it bounces around, and it kills the enemy if it hits them. The player can also move left and right.

The art is horrendous (you’re not actually meant to be playing as some creepy hovering doll) and there’s no level design as yet. Still plenty of features that need implementing too – the enemies need to be at least mildly threatening and the player needs a way to get over the walls.

Even if there’s not all that much there, I at least feel like I’ve done a lot. This is my second project using Cocos2dx and I’m using a lot of stuff that I haven’t touched before. At the very least this will be a good learning experience


Posted by
Friday, April 17th, 2015 9:09 am

I’m in.

Going to go with:
C++/Cocos2d-x (probably a poor idea, but I need experience in it)
Tiled, if there are tiles.

Guess that’s about it. Hopefully I don’t fail as completely as last time.

Challenges that might be faced:
I’m going to a party on the Saturday night, which I fear will be all-you-can-drink. I may have to moderate myself, but if I don’t … well, we’ll see.
Also, my new ISP is apparently going to call me around 1pm and babble to me in Japanese, which will probably be an awful experience. But hey, anything to save a few yen.

lately in

Posted by
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 7:56 pm

Alright, I’m superlate in starting, but that’s the way it goes.

Dropping this code here and saying it’s basecode: http://www.mediafire.com/download/h61lj5y3n3kxf6s/src.zip

I want to cannibalise  the movement stuff there mostly.

I’ll be using Haxe for code and gimp for graphics.

Not sure if I actually have enough enthusiasm to make a decent go at this, but don’t really just want to go and spend the day playing videogames either … although now that I say that it does sound like a rather nice idea.


Posted by
Saturday, April 26th, 2014 5:24 am

Time to ponder out-loud.

I spent most of the day implementing pretty basic stuff that should have been in my base code already (input, movement, camera, collisions, gravity…). As I’ve been pottering along doing this my enthusiasm for my idea has slowly been draining away.
But that’s okay, I think. Tomorrow is when shit will solidify into something real. Probably.

The problem with the current idea (basically: rappelling/falling down into a place with messed up physical properties that kill you and using various tools to see how far you can get) is basically the same as the problem with my previous LD – it’s relying on me having enough time and energy and life in me after implementing all the mechanics and such to come up with a bunch of content for the actual game. And there’s no way that’s going to happen, especially at this pace.

Whatever game I make tomorrow, it needs to have only one core difficult thing to implement that the gameplay will revolve around, and the content should neatly wrap around that gameplay mechanic without needing to create a bunch of assets or extra code to give that mechanic meaning. If I can manage such an idea I think there’s a reasonable chance of success still. Most of the boring code should be out of the way now after all. For the rest of the night I think I’ll just add bits and pieces that might come in handy or try and fix some of the dodgy things happening at the moment.

The theme is cool, but so far I haven’t had any ideas that lever it to its full potential and are self-contained. Something about what lurks beneath the surface of people would be interesting, but short of making a game with lots of text and junk I haven’t had any viable ideas in that direction.


Posted by
Friday, April 25th, 2014 8:58 am

I’m in.

The goal is to submit something playable, all else be damned. I will not give in to the temptations of ridiculous scope!

Here’s my halfarsed base code: http://www.mediafire.com/download/k9s1f20knleaf9d/src%282%29.zip

Nothing very exciting there though. I had nicer and much more code before I reformatted my hard-drive, but because I’m retarded it is now gone. But oh well.




Gimp and/or Inkscape

Idunno about sound. I’ll try work out something. Or not, depends.

Midnight Update

Posted by
Sunday, December 15th, 2013 8:11 am

Time for an update.

Progress has been bad, but not bad enough for me to give up. Which is unfortunate. I was hoping to sleep.

It took far longer than it should have, but the trading system works and as far as I can tell doesn’t break. The code running it is disgusting. Absolutely horrid. I hope it doesn’t break because I can barely remember how it works. It’s not even doing anything particularly complex – just the way it’s being done is stupid.

But anyway, I’ve moved on from that, and got on to the business of making the actual game. Well, so far just some terrible art, but turning that into actual game should hopefully be easy from here.


I leave you with the cast so far: characters

No, I’m not making a zombie game. I’m merely very bad at this.

The Feeding of the 5000 Arseholes

Posted by
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 7:47 am

(working title, I dunno)

Alright, I’m done for tonight, I think. I’ve been plodding along all day and don’t feel I’ve gotten as far as I need to be. Energy levels just dropped somewhere along the line. Hopefully the looming-deadline effect will kick in tomorrow.

The concept of the game is that you’re Jesus, and one of your apostles has rocked up with 5000 people and expects you pull some kind of fucking miracle or something and feed them all. Wanker. Anyway, he gives you one loaf of bread and a fish and tells you the party is on in the evening.

You could tell him to go fuck himself, but you’re Jesus and you have a reputation to protect, so somehow you need to multiply your supply of bread and fish by a lot. Unfortunately, miracles don’t just happen on the drop of a hat. You’re doing it the hard way.

And so you’re meant to trade with other people for things they want until you’ve multiplied your bread and fish to the required amount.

This idea sounded less ambitious in the morning, but oh well.

With all apologies to Jesus, here’s Jesus:jesus2


Posted by
Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 8:26 am

I guess I should post-mortem my game now that the ratings are out.


Well, basically, my game wasn’t very good, but wasn’t particularly bad either. In fact, it got a 2.50 overall score, so I guess the word that comes to mind is ‘average’ or ‘mediocre’. I can deal with this.

What went well:

Haxepunk and my dodgy engine that’s slowly forming over the top of it:

There are some parts of my code that aren’t sensible and it needs a lot of tuning, but I can make things fast and slot in code from other games and it just works without lots of copying and pasting and awfulness. In general the programming went very smoothly – sure, there were a few instances of getting tripped up for an hour or so while some stupid bug caused by my own stupidity wouldn’t die, but generally speaking the code flowed freely.

The music:

I certainly didn’t expect to put this in the ‘things that went well’ section, and I feel kind-of bad that people liked the music because I spent about a minute in Otomata making it. It literally took no effort on my part and it was the very last thing I did before submitting and crashing.

What went poorly:

Time management:

I had flat-zero ideas for the theme and if I hadn’t woken up and found it a rainy miserable day I probably would have given up. I started a full 24 hours late. I also spent a few hours at local festivals that were going on in the neighbourhood, though I don’t think that had much effect. I started work at 10am and submitted around 4am the next morning (deadline being 10am my time) – I probably should have used the remaining time to polish but it was playable and I didn’t care anymore.

The ‘features’:

I tweeted around 3am: ‘Alright, there are no more bugs – only features!’.

Which is all well and good, but unfortunately no one else appreciated the ‘feature’ of the collision detection breaking 30 seconds in. It’s not as broken as most people thought, I think – you can still kill them with some effort and getting them to cross the hand a few times, but … yeah, it’s a bug that I decided not to fix because it was really late and I knew it would be really hard to fix. Plus it adds some challenge to the game so you can’t just sit in front of the hand … which is a stupid excuse. As my sister commented: ‘It’s really hard because at some point there’s so many guys breaking the rules that you can’t keep up’.

The movement bugs were well received though. There were actually no movement patterns besides ‘chase the player’, but when I changed a few values it appeared there were anyway. This is good, because that was part of the original plan that I didn’t get around to implementing.

The graphics:

I can’t believe I went with a shit-green-and-grey colour scheme. Anything would have been better, and it would have taken ten seconds with the paint bucket tool.


Anyway, enough navelgazing. It’s a miracle I released anything, so I’m not complaining in any case.

Declaration of In

Posted by
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 9:19 am

So I’m in. May this time go better than last time (all you can really ask for, really).

Code: Haxe/Haxepunk

Sound: Probably nothing, but sfxr or some other procedural sound thingy if I get around to it.

Art: gimp, I guess.

And base code, which will be the ruins of the last three games I was working on. Should be able to pull something from the rubble there (although I’m still not sure the way I’ve written it makes good sense … but whatever. Guess it works) http://www.mediafire.com/?yzp80icqk7a4zx4


Posted by
Sunday, July 21st, 2013 7:44 pm

I’m in.

Tools are haxe/haxepunk, Tiled for the map, and Gimp for graphics. Nothing too fancy, I think.

I’m hacking the code from my other project which was languishing in the depths of apathy into something that can be used for this. So far the test map is displaying. Shouldn’t take much to get the rest of the basics up and running. From there I’m keeping my hopes and expectations low..

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